On Saturday, Silver Lake's Lyric Hyperion Theater staged an Arrested Development-inspired variety hour called Bluth Fest for us fans who were as blue as Tobias Funke when the short-lived, cult show was cancelled in 2006, but are now doing the chicken dance a la Gob Bluth in anticipation of the cast's return on Netflix May 26.
You remember the Bluths, the once-rich, dysfunctional family from Newport Beach that includes mom Lucille (Jessica Walter), dad George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), sons Gob (Will Arnett) and Buster (Tony Hale), daughter Lindsay (Portia de Rossi), her husband Tobias (David Cross) and daughter Maeby (Alia Shawkat) — a crooked bunch who'd sooner eat the furniture in their fake, model mini-mansion than do an honest day's work. There's also third son Michael, (Jason Bateman) single dad to George Michael (Michael Cera) and the only normal one of the group.
Co-hosts Monika Scott and Rhiannon Houch of sketch duo Theme Party took us on a Bluth-ian journey that featured skits, music and stand-up, not to mention a chicken dance-off — a celebration of one of the series' running gags, which looks more Mick Jagger than foul. (The theater was even decorated with blue hand-prints, another running gag referring to Tobias' failed attempt to join the Blue Man Group).
Here are some of our favorite moments:
1. A spot-on Emily Maya Mills reincarnated as the deliciously snippy, boozing and overly critical mother of bad mothers, Lucille. Holding a wine glass and wearing a neat, silver peplum dress, Mills looked at the crowd and asked, “Why do I feel like I'm whale watching?” She later asked if we'd seen “that cunt of my next door neighbor” — referring to her nemesis and the show's other Lucille (Liza Minnelli) — which just about rivals one of our favorite lines from all of Arrested Development where Lucille calls season one guest star, Jane Lynch, a “Redwood of a whore.”
2. A deadpan Brodie Reed doing Carl Weathers as Carl Weathers from season one and two. In the series, Weathers, the actor known for the roles of Apollo Creed and Action Jackson, played a penny-pinching, hack acting coach who teaches his students more about being thrifty than about acting. Here, with french fries and chocolate cake in his mouth, Reed — reenacting a scene at a Burger King with Weathers and Tobias — presided over his acting class and taught his students about “eye contact, breathing and remembering to take the bathrobe out of the dressing room.”
3. Tony Sam as eldest son and magician- – “illusions, Michael” — Gob. (“A trick is something a whore does for money.”) Wearing a silver suit with a black cape, Sam sprayed the audience with playing cards, and that was pretty much it. Sadly, we didn't get to hear Europe's “The Final Countdown” either. As Gob would say, “C'mon!”
4. Morgan Jay playing guitar and dressed as a Chiquita banana (referring to the Bluths' frozen banana stand business), which definitely didn't look as expensive as the $600 banana costume Gob wore on the show. He sang in a falsetto about being a sexy banana, while staring at another guy in the crowd, breaking eye contact only long to ask what was probably on everyone's mind: “How are you guys gonna describe this to your friends?”